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NIHR Local Authority Academic Fellowship Programme and Associated Opportunities

This pilot programme of fellowship schemes and short placement awards will support individuals based within local authority settings to develop as health and/or social care researchers whilst retaining their existing employment and salary. This new initiative provides exciting opportunities for a wide range of individuals.

In order to address the complex health and social care challenges of the 21st century, it is crucial to develop and support future research leaders from a wide range of settings and disciplines. The Local Authority Academic Fellowship (LAAF) Programme and similarly focussed short placement awards have been designed to strengthen the capacity for local authority settings to generate and support health and social care research by offering research training awards to the individuals that work within them.

The training opportunities include three pilot schemes:

  • LAAF Programme Pre-Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship (PLAF) Scheme
  • LAAF Programme Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship (DLAF) Scheme
  • Local Authority Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (LA SPARC) Scheme

Additional schemes, including complementary post-doctoral funding opportunities, may be added to the LAAF Programme in the future.

By offering this range of funding opportunities to individuals embedded within local authority settings, these schemes will contribute to the development of a credible ‘practitioner academic’ career pathway within local authorities and local authority supporting services.

Each class of award provides protected time within an individual's current employment to undertake fully funded research training, professional development and, depending on the scheme, a research project and academic qualifications.

StagePLAFDLAFLA SPARC
Competition Launch January April Autumn
Application Deadline March June Winter
Award Start Date September - March April - September April - February
Duration (when taken full-time) 1 year or 6 months 3 years Short placements

 

Pre-Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship (PLAF) Scheme

These fully funded pre-doctoral fellowships will enable awardees to retain their existing employment contracts and salaries, whilst protecting their time to prepare an application for a PhD fellowship and undertake a fully funded programme of relevant Masters level training.

Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship (DLAF) Scheme

These fully funded doctoral fellowships will enable awardees to retain their existing employment contracts and salaries, whilst protecting their time to undertake a PhD by research, undertake academic training and develop professional skill sets.

Local Authority SPARC

The Local Authority Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (SPARC) scheme will provide funds for short ‘placement opportunities’ in a part of the NIHR (e.g a Biomedical Research Centre, Applied Research Collaboration, NIHR School etc.). These will be bespoke, personalised training and career development placements for individuals to develop their skills, knowledge and expertise, train in a specific technique and build meaningful relationships with other researchers.

These placements will draw on the skills of both the academic and NIHR, and the Local Authority to co-produce research that delivers real benefits to people and communities.

These awards are available to individuals of any profession or background, with the exception of doctors and dentists who can already access equivalent dedicated funding opportunities. Applicants must, however, be employed by:

  • a local authority
  • a non-NHS provider of local authority commissioned services
  • a non-profit organisation (such as a charity) that provides services on behalf of a local authority, or supports a local authority in meeting its objectives.

These schemes represent exciting new opportunities for a wide range of individuals, but especially for those without professional social worker or clinician status. Eligible clinicians and social workers are welcome to apply for support from this programme or from the other existing NIHR Academy administered programmes that cater for their own professional groups, but cannot apply to both concurrently.

Prospective applicants are strongly advised to read the scheme specific applicant guidance notes in full before beginning an application:

Call: 0113 532 8444

Email: Academy-awards@nihr.ac.uk for the local authority fellowships programme or icbs@nihr.ac.uk for the LA SPARC.

Latest funding opportunities for the Local Authority Academic Fellowship Programme

Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship

This pilot scheme is being designed to support individuals based in local authorities or local authority commissioned services to develop as health and/or social care researchers.

Latest documents for the Local Authority Academic Fellowship Programme

Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Scheme Applicant Guidance Notes 2021

Applicant guidance notes for the Doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Scheme.

Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Scheme Applicant Guidance Notes

Applicant Guidance Notes for the Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Scheme, part of the NIHR Local Authority Academic Fellowship Programme.

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